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tv   American History TV in Newport RI  CSPAN  January 21, 2018 2:00pm-3:41pm EST

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are stopping them from using the needle, which is a vector for the transmission of the virus. >> watch the entire film on "reel 1639, over the course of the next hundred years, newport, rhode island would become not only one of the most active ports, but the most active slave port. bristolmerchants and merchants were responsible for nearly 1000 slavery voyages. they transported about 100,000 africans back to the new world during that 100-year period. >> those jewish people, jews
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from spain and portugal, they fled to where they could worship, where they could work. us 10 people left barb beto's, but instead of going to new york or wanted to go they to rhode island. in 1636, a gentleman by the name of roger williams founded rhode island. he had come to the colonies from england seeking religious freedom, and 20 years after the founding of rhode island, those people in barbados said this is where they wanted to come. she was the most famous woman
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lighthouse keeper in the united states, but more importantly, she was the most famous lighthouse keeper in the united states. it is likely that she saved 35.een 25 and she was a slip of a woman. she weighed 103 pounds and she was fearless. welcome to newport, rhode island. located on the south easternmost part of the state, newport is the home of the u.s. war college and the breakers, the vanderbilt summer home. we begin with the story of the slave trade in newport, which was once the most active slave port in north america. well, one of the things i isrned growing up in newport my newport grandmother would remind me as a child, slavery is how we got here, but it does not
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tell you the story of the people. my interest is telling the story of the people, and clearly people of african ancestry americas, wee arrived under the most perilous and difficult circumstances of human slavery. on the other hand, we persevered. so many of african heritage still exist in newport or boston or new york or barbados or anywhere in the western hemisphere is a testament to our perseverance. settled in 1639, over the course of the next 100 years, newport, rhode island would grow not only to be one of the most active ports in british north america, but the most active slave port. newport merchants, along with bristol merchants within rhode island, who were responsible for --rly 1000 slavery voyages
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they transported about 100,000 africans back to the new year during that 100 years. the africans that arrived via rhode island ships have federal pathways. for the most part, rhode island being an english colony was trading with other english colonies and settlements. in the case of west africa, it was the golden guinea coast. from there, africans would be taken to the west indies largely, again to english settlements and what today we would recognize as the bahamas, jamaica, and barbados, and from there, africans would be transported eventually back to newport and rhode island, what --call the triangle of train trade in the transatlantic traded. this trade was tied to rum and molasses. in fact, from the beginning of the 18th century to the end of the 18th century, newport itself
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was involved in 80% of what is called the guinea-rum trade. the ships would literally take and trade itrum for enslaved africans. they would be traded to english colonies, mostly jamaica, barbados, and from there they would be the labor force that would work and the sugar plantations. the newport ships would take the transporteds and back and it would be distilled would be rum, and that used as currency. the transatlantic slave trade went on for centuries. but the system is different from what many people might have a sense of today. in fact, many people when they think in terms of the african slave trade, they tend to think thehe west indie system or
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antebellum, southern america system. they tend to think of cotton fields, plantations -- which all existed. they were all part of the cash crop system. but your new we have never had temperate weather. we were not producing the cash crops. for the most part, africans who came to new england generally, but particularly in newport, were more involved in the urban trade skills. we have primary and secondary ship logs that show africans being trained as artisans. many are being involved as shipwrights, fine furniture, rum making, seamstress. wasof the work that required in a colonial seaport community, these africans were responsible for doing. it is not a better or worse circumstance.
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educationng and the were different from what they would see in the american south indies.inly the west the fact that newport was at the slave of the west african of theby the middle part century, nearly a third of the population aren't slaved africans. one out of every three families had at least one slave. there's a significant number of africans, very much part of the population. very much part of the workforce. rhode island is also settled by whites who are looking for the of religious freedom and expressing the terran -- in oldping the tyranny of the world. you find many africans enslaved
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in religious households take on the religious identity of the master or mistress. the anglican despicable church becomes african. so what is important is these africans have access to work skills, training. they are actively worshiping in the same place of worship as the master and mistress, and most important, there is no separation of living environment. most africans are living in the same quarters as the master or mistress. living together, working together, worshiping together. which would have been largely unheard of an unnecessary if africans were enslaved in the or the westth indies. this would allow africans to language skills, social skills, would allow them to reclaim their african identity much earlier or in a more conference of way then africans who were enslaved elsewhere.
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number of africans purchasing their freedom or being emancipated. they buy homes. they set up businesses and shops. 1780, a group of africans come thether and they formed free african union. it does three important things. it raises money, saves money to educate africans. it would also raise money for proper burial. the oldest and largest existing african slave burial ground in america is here in need -- in newport, and many of those markers are paid for by fellow africans. they wanted to reclaim their african identity, so many and eventuallys through the room church would reclaim their african names and customs. and that would be very much in place in newport throughout the 18th and into the early 19th century. this is important because of the
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fact that today there are at least 30 buildings or historic structures from the colonial area -- colonial era that are directly related not only to africans who were enslaved, but more important, were africans owned property, plighted trade, worshiped, or taught children. this is more than a vocation or a study. family on my mother's side, we date back over 10 generations in newport. ancestorsr newport did not look like george and martha washington. of africanackgrounds heritage, native heritage, and jewish heritage. for me, this is an opportunity to talk about all of american history and i've been very fortunate because every generation of my family has maintained heirlooms to pass on to the next. we have 18th, 19th century collections of furniture,
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documents, all of the things of family might have an cherish and pass on to our family to this day, so it gives us a strong sense of not only being real new , but real newporters americans. our story is the story of so many americans. america is founded on the ideals of not only the liberty of conscience and freedom, but the idea than anyone, regardless of your race or ethnicity or religious persuasion has the right to settle here and prosper here. and the story of newport very much represents that story. all weekend, american history tv is featuring newport, rhode island. c-span cities tour staff recently visited, showcasing its history. this coastal town was founded in 1630 nine by english settlers and named after newport, england. about newport all
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weekend here on american history tv. it is a first test of the french-american military alliance. it does not go well. it shows some of the points they need to work on. it shows poor communication between the two. it also shows what the americans cannot do without, which is major french artillery support. in terms of being a test of the french-american alliance, there are real lessons learned. ist we're really doing talking about two different things. for talking about the battle for rhode island and the battle of rhode island. when we talk about the battle of rhode island, it is a battle that takes place in 1770 at and that is the major combat phase of the interaction between the americans and the french that are the northern part of the island and the british in the hessians occupying newport.
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the british move into newport in december of 1776. it is one of the first of the major cities to fall. new york has fallen to the british in september. it's just a couple months later. the british are able to move here into newport, which, at the time, is one of the six largest cities in north america. the first real attempt of the americans to try to dislodge the british and possibly the only real attempt is in 1778, and that goes into these broader strategic issues. it's because of the french-american alliance. -- really, it gives washington what he covets,
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which is french naval support and ground troops. trythe first time they can this new alliance out, this overt alliance out is later on that summer when ostensibly -- a french league arrives in narragansett harbor. there is an assumption among people like the american commander here, whose name is john sullivan. he's from marlowe, massachusetts. he is known for his raver he. he is known for his and doozy as him. he is not known for being moderate or temperate. washington puts him in charge of the operations to essentially take back this -- thinking once we have the french fleet and the american army we can go ahead and with a combined operation dislodge the british and the hessians. of august 1778 that they have comes up with a plan that will be a combined french
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bombardment on the city, the americans are expecting not just the bombardment, but the use and support of french troops. that is what sullivan is hoping for and what sullivan is planning for. of there's not a lot communication. themark udall of yet -- marquis day lafayette is here. that well, lafayette go on with the communications between the americans and the french. but weather strikes. inre was a massive storm august. it not only impacts the american troops. it soaks their gunpowder. it destroys their tent.
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it just turns it into a mud pit. it creates real tactical problems. issue is ittrategic really does a great deal of the priorityiven of maintaining those ships, he is not keen to lead damaged ships out into the harbor. the harbor is out there. tot he wants to do is leave take his fleet from narragansett up and around and to boston. technically farther. there's not going to be any british threat there. and he must refit them. this is where the miscommunication between the two really reaches its apex. sullivan loses it. sullivan completely goes ballistic and he has these plans to go ahead and attack newport. theullivan does, publicly,
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one thing you're not going to do in the 18th century. he questions their honor. he outright calls them cowards. so he leaves -- and sullivan entireruins the franco-american alliance. that is one of the things that is really at stake. one of the third -- first things about the battle of rhode island is it is the first opportunity for military cooperation between the french and the americans in the war, but it's on most of the last. it is so serious that lafayette has two ride from newport to ride fromhas to newport to boston to convince the french to come back. sullivan goes to attack newport,
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but the british positions are too strong. we have 10,000 american troops. there is a small canadian unit. there's also a very unique presence of the first rhode -- the first rhode island is one of the most famous regiments of the entire revolution. of former slaves that had been freed by enlistment of free blacks and native americans who had been joined together in this one common venture. but the biggest enemy the americans have, that general sullivan has, is the weather. the roads are in rotten shape. because these men are not in the best condition. and he no longer has that french bombardment support. he's not able to actually launch an effective attack the way he
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wants to. the battle isn't much of a battle. it is simply sullivan's troops trying to move, getting bogged down, the british able to maintain their defensive positions very well. and the ends, it is a major defeat for the americans. sullivan's goal is to dislodge the british from the sports. he completely fails on accomplishing that. what sullivan decides to do then is save what is last of his army and retreats back up the island before the british can counterattack. so what sullivan does is bombard the city of newport where we are standing right now. that's a very effective bombardment. it not only keeps the heads of the british and the hessians but he is able to successfully keep the british and the hessians that they and
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get the provincial troops off the island. that is the greatest success the americans have in the entire campaign. but then there is the battle for rhode island. got here in 1776, but they do not leave until october of 1779. only new york remained in british hands longer. capture moving up to charleston. they are spending all of the fighting between the british and french cleats in the caribbean. newport has really lost the importance of the british because they cannot spread themselves so -- to thin. newport ine out of 79.ber of
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they leave here and then have the town goes with them. gone on a tripas back home to france to generate more support and more supplies for the americans. he returns in june of 1780. when he returns, the french when, the army -- that is the last phase of newport's revolutionary history starts. the battle for rhode island is more or less over. then the americans come back and this becomes a town every bit as the americans as a british and the french. lafayette does everything he can to literally bring washington
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together -- which he does. washington comes here and he and are able to meet face-to-face. it is part of this broader campaign of fostering discussion that leads toion the fruits of the corporation, and that all happens here. they leave to go straight from here to yorktown. newport plays an extraordinary role. battle forimportant the campaign for new england. but it plays a seminal role in conflict in the
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american revolution. >> all week and long, american history tv joins our cox tomunications cable partners export the history of newport, rhode island. we continue our look now at the history of newport. >> we at the newport historical society are so fortunate to have a wealth of information about thetitle of rhode island, battle for rhode island, and the revolutionary period in general, in a number of different ways. from the most humble to the most elaborate. with this one, which is a piece of the flag of
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the first rhode island regiment. this is the first integrated regiment of the american revolution. flaghis is part of the that was carried by that regiment during the battle of rhode island. we know that because this particular note that was written in 1870 eight, almost exactly 100 years after the battle, pieces of the flag carried by christopher green fell regiments -- green's regiment. it is modest. it is humble. just a small piece of fabric. but it tells the story of a group of people fighting for .heir freedom then we have one of the pieces sideidence about the worst
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of the violence that can occur. this is not very far from here. this is a cannonball. while it is attributed to the battle of rhode island, it is posited it was not part of the battle. it is very large. it comes from a kind of cannon that the americans do not have at the time, even though the americans engage in a massive bombardment of the city to cover their retreat. this is the kind of cannon that ships, that are on the french ships the americans really need to support their land operation, but this is a reminder of the kind of damage that can be done to people and structures during the violence. but then we get to a more of the conflict.
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we get to friendships. we get to send mentality. iss is a piece that obviously meant for conflict, but it is extraordinary in terms of its beauty and, frankly its mystery. it is aknow about it is made in the northwest corner of france. kind of piercing is extraordinary and any kind of , and wetury silver work picked up the story again in the used as one ofis the centerpieces of the rhode island for billion -- pavilion. it is given by the marquis de
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lafayette himself. that is certainly possible. this is certainly the kind of thing that he would value and the kind of thing you would use to reflect an important personal relationship. the family story is it was a sword given to daniel lyman by lafayette after a reading of the declaration of showendence in order to the important contribution daniel lyman had made to cementing the french american alliance. our prized of possessions. they both tell extraordinary, powerful stories about relationships that may be american revolution. the synagogue here in newport
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was built in 1753, which makes it the oldest synagogue in the united states. join us on american history as we learn more about this building. >> this is the oldest existing synagogue building in the united states of america it has a wonderful 600-year story. first of all, it is most important for you to understand that it is a house of worship. we have services year-round. orthodox in its service. that is what we are doing today. the story starts in 1492 in spain when king ferdinand and queen isabella issued a decree.
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what they wanted at the time was a purely catholic country. so they gave jewish people to do choices. the first was to convert to catholicism. the second was to leave. those who converted were called converasos. ine chose to remain jews secret. if they were to be found out, they would be tortured and put to death. "swine." inme was jews left spain and they had to give everything away to the spanish government, such as their land in any riches they might have have -- have had. several years later, the king of
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portugal did something similar. from spaine, jews and portugal, we refer to as so safardic jews.- 1658, tells us that 15 people left barbados. instead of going to new york or philadelphia, they wanted to come to newport, rhode island. what attracted them? what attracted them was the story of how rhode island came about. 1636, a gentleman by the name of roger williams founded rhode island. he came to the colonies from england seeking religious freedom. 20 years after the founding of rhode island, those people in barbados said, this is where
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they wanted to come. not only did the jews come here, peoplekers and others, who had not been persecuted but would be for their religious beliefs. the jews here needed a place to bury their loved ones. they bought a plot of land right up the street. if you see the small cemetery, you will see that it has the names on the gravestones of touro.odriguez, these are portuguese names. the symmetry was important. it documented -- the cemetery was important. that documented the jewish people could own property. by 1768, things were changing dramatically for newport.
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and had been transformed from a sleepy town to one of the five top seaports in colonial america , right up there with boston, philadelphia, and charleston. our waterfront was filled with 150 sailing ships that traded in ports all over the world. there was wealth coming into newport. many jewish merchants also got some of the wealth because of what was happening. likewere ships and traders everybody else. they had decisions to make regarding the jewish community. peopleo 1758, the jewish prayed in their homes with lay leader. there were no rabbinical schools in colonial america. the jewish people said we have been here 100 years, let's find someone to lead our congregation.
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a young man of about 25 years -- thee here to newport congregation also did not have a synagogue. it took a few generations of wealth to have the money to start a venture such as building a house of worship. tuoro had some thing to say about that and convinced some of those wealthy merchants to purchase a plot of land right here in the center of old colonial newport at the top of a hill. the cornerstone was laid in 17 foundd the congregants the most prestigious architect in colonial america, peter harrison, to design the building. it took four years to build the building. the building was concentrated
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december 2, coinciding with the jewish holiday of hanukkah. the congregation filed in the 30 jewish0 or families. they invited the entire jewish community to come inside and worship with them, jew and n on-jew alike. we know what the building looked like. i will point out some of the features that they saw that we see today. the building has these remarkable brass chandeliers, still original to the building. they were donated by wealthy jewish or chance whose -- merchants whose names are still engraved upon them. this was based on the -- of wales. one of the wealthy jewish
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merchants, jacob rivera, had several kindle factories in t -- candle factories in town. also from the original building, these 12 columns. they denote the 12 tribes of israel. they provide not only architectural and a structural support, but they have a biblical reference as well. at the far end of our congregation is a clock. from thee gifts synagogue in london which was s afardic and still exists. the clock has to be hand wound and still works a couple hundred years afterwards. important religious object is the torah scroll.
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it's the first five books of the bible, genesis, exodus, leviticus, numbers, deuteronomy. this scroll is over 500 years old. amsterdamift from the safardic community to this one in the 1750's. we believe that these early congregants worshipped from this scroll. it is written on deer skin. it has a veneer of oil. it is in almost perfect condition. building doese look very much like it did on the night of december 2, 1763. it has had several renovations, but not a reconstructed spac e.
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we still get the feeling of what those early congregants felt. this takes us right to 1776. this was an english colony. when the declaration of independence was read, the english called in their navy, the navy blockaded the harbor, thereby shutting down all of the trade. people started fleeing to newport. without trade, they couldn't make a living. this building was closed as a synagogue and used as a hospital for british soldiers. one of the few jews who stayed oro.nd was isaac tu he made sure that the building was intact and no harm was done during that time. this building cannot of the war unscathed. after the revolutionary war, people didn't come back to newport island.
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they had already established homes and businesses somewhere else. for the jewish people it was a difficult time. one jewish's, not person lived in rhode island anymore. the building was shut. to a quakere given family who took care of it for 60 years. in the late 1880's, eastern european jews started coming to america to escape the pagrams that they were experiencing their. they saw the building and said, worship.o use it for they said it could be used as long as it remained orthodox in nature. this building has continued its
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use as an orthodox synagogue since 1894. george washington came to newport three times. 1790, he came accompanied by thomas jefferson. they were on a campaign trip to 13 of the new states in the united states of america urging ratification of the bill of rights. our constitution had several important emissions. the most important oh mission was there was nothing in the constitution speaking to the freedom of religion. they were wondering, what would happen to the jews in this new united states? would it be like several other governments that had treated jewish people harshly or expelled them? the president of the congregation wrote a letter to george washington asking,
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what will happen to the jews? washington read that letter and wrote right back, using most of moses's own words. he said, it is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people over the exercise of another's inherent natural rights. for happily, the government of the united states, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, those words which have such relevance, to them and use now, to have these words on paper in the united states of america by a federal official that spoke to freedom of religion and the government's responsibility in guaranteeing that freedom of religion. that is what we celebrate here
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every day in our tuoro synagogue story. >> established in 1884, the naval war college is the home of thought for the u.s. navy. join us as we learn more about it in the history of the navy in newport as we speak to the history professor david conan. here at the center of american maritime history in newport, rhode island, it is one of the deepest, natural and enclosed ports in the world. for that reason the u.s. navy chose it as one of its key anchorages. the origins of the naval war germany.eigin in the germans were ahead of the
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game for techniques of wargaming. thehe great unification, of germans came up with an idea called the general staff. it was an organization that allowed all the other principalities to fall in line under the regiments centralized organization called the general staff. there was a guy named emory upton, who was a brigadier general, that said, look with the germans did with the general staff. they studied the german methods. the argument that what we need to do is create a federally regulated army. that idea ran against some of the traditional thoughts of how the militant -- american military should be operated. uptonry upton -- emery counted among his friends a man by the name of stephen b. luce.
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this idea luce about called the general staff that the germans had come up with. one of the ways that the germans came up with this idea was by creating a war college. purpose from upton's point of view was not to conduct war, but to understand war, so as not but to avoid future wars win them quickly and decisively. it has an inception -- it has a history beyond its inception. the college was seen as slightly , but this is the building where the first
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lectures were delivered to naval practitioners. this was published in january 1889. frank wesley's sketch of what was going on here in founders hall. part of the methodology was to reconstruct past battles and examine, piece by piece, the decisions that were made in the context of the battle, and to have a forthright discrepant -- description -- discussiono. it was to understand the reasoning behind the decision. that was the purpose of looking at historical battles. developing of strategies for the future. thehistory of newport and united states navy is a deep
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story that goes back many centuries. new portland was very large and the story of the war between the states. the united states naval academy was established originally in maryland, anapolis. maryland was not quite loyal to the union and not quite as loyal to the confederacy. the decision was made to move the academy from annapolis, maryland, and to bring it to newport, rhode island. the shipment of the naval academy at the atlantic hotel. the building is no longer there, but the legacy of the naval academy in newport during the inil war looms large understanding how the united states navy evolved.
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the men who were at the naval academy studied under instructors like stephen b. luce ehan who wereheram midshipmen the academy. we have a signed photograph of whoed thayer mahan, unfortunately die just as the first world war was developing. he is best known for his works on seapower. here we have the exact copy. this is actually the copy that mahan gave to president theodore roosevelt. theodore roosevelt, being who he was, there a much enjoyed
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studying history. you can see the inscription from mahan to theodore roosevelt. with best wishes and compl iments. the influence of seapower on history uses history as a means of making observations about the the of maritime strategy in interest of the nation. what mahan is grappling with is the interrelation of politics, diplomacy, and the use of naval forces to support the free trade and economic interests of the nation. mahan, looking to britannia as an opportunity for the united states after the civil war to take a place at the
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table as a maritime power in its own right. alfred thayer mahan and theodore roosevelt were very good friends all the way back to the 1880's. theodore roosevelt knew alfred thayer mahan's father who taught at westpoint. because of this shared interest in seapower, and inspired by the works of mahan and others, theodore roosevelt was the champion for the creation of what was called at the time "the idea of a navy second to none." with that he convince people to build the great white fleet. he built ships named after streets. iowa, wisconsin. they are a idea it was to get those people excited about their
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navy. seeing the navy on the high sea, as a show for what the potential might be of this "navy second to none," they say -- they staged this circumnavigation of the great white fleet. they went all around the world showing the american flag in all of the key ports around the world. everyone was very impressed by the ships. [gunfire] >> as the european powers modeled thei -- muddled their way into the first world war in the fall of 1914, the united states decided to remain neutral, largely because president woodrow wilson developed a strategy of neutrality. agents, 1916, a group of working for the german ministry
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intually conducted an attack new york city. they three some explosives into the naval arsenal facility and it created an earthquake under the city of new york. it caused damage to the statue of liberty. a few months after that attack, as the government was trying to figure out who conducted the attack, this u-boat showed up in newport, rhode island. 3, andrman submarine, u5 its commander, showed up in the bay, pulled up to buoy number 2, next to the united states war college, and the skipper got on board a water taxi to dewey field, walked up the hill to dewey field, and went to the
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main building at luce hall. he knocked on the front door and said, my name is hans rosa and i am here toe, send a postcard -- hans rose, and i am here to send a postcard. they said, okay, what else are you here for? he said i am here to call on the president of the war college. at that time, it was admiral austin nighknight. the tenant rose, introduced himself to admiral knight and he said, why are you here, we are neutral. ura war -- you are a war ship and in danger of violating the neutrality laws and we will have to place you in internment. hans said,k i am just here to mail a postcar to my mother and
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iscall upon you as appropriate in naval tradition. rose was trying to say, my u-boat can reach your shores and you should be aware if you decide to get involved in the first world war. this was unsaid. at the end of it, hans said, admiral, i would like to invite you to the u53 where we have apple schnapps and freeze-dried cigars. we would like to have a nice day with you before we get underway. of coruse, -- of course, in naval tradition, admiral knight decided to say, i will come down to the uboat. during this exchange between american naval officers and german sailors, what was happening was the americans were trying to gather as much information as they could about the german submarines.
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hans rose was very forthright. he told the americans details about the torpedoes, he told them that the boat could dive very deeply. how he could evade being -- the purpose of his visit was to demonstrate to the americans the vulnerability that the united states faced in relation to german submarines. the purpose of that was to intimidate the united states to stay out of the first world war. as the boat was getting underway, lieutenant hans rose ordered a life preserver brought up from below. theook it and threw it into
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water. there were a number of yachtsmen trailing behind. after he threw it into the water, he ordered the boat to dive. before it starts to maneuver diving, he yells out to the trailing yachtsman from newport, good luck. for the next week, lieutenant hans rose and the crew sank a number of ships in the approach to that bay, trying to send the message to the united states that if you get involved in this world war, there will be consequences. 1960's,he early american naval forces were deployed to vietnamese waters in 1964 over the gulf of tonkin. stockdale named james was operating off an aircraft
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carrier. is anl stockdale interesting character in the history of the naval war college. he is a metal of honor winner. he had served in vietnam and was there from the beginning of the vietnam war. he flew of the scene of the gulf of tonkin incident and was later vietnam ander north became the senior american prisoner of war, issuing orders to the other visitors of war to conduct themselves with as much composure as possible in the difficult circumstances that they faced in the handle a -- hanoi hilton., among others, john mccain was with admiral stockdale. for their service, admiral p.o.w.,e as the senior
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received the medal of honor for his heroic service while in captivity. later on, he came to the war college as president and was instrumental in the delivery of educational content for the purposes of informing our future strategy. the united states naval war college in newport is the center of the u.s. navy of the 21st century. it is threw the -- through these doors that the great american naval thinkers came through to learn about their profession. teach at the we naval war college is that we are not really here to fight a future war. we are here to figure out strategic ways to avoid future wars through seasppower. >> president dwight eisenhower used to call this his summer white house in 1958 and 1960.
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originally it was the confidant's house. join us as we learn more about this historic home. >> the eisenhower house we are in today was used as a summer white house during two summers, 1958 and 1960. he came in 1957 and stayed in the naval war college. he found that living in the war college was not exactly what he was looking for. he took a tour of the town and saw this house that was being used as the commandant's quarters, and decided that would make a fine summer white house. he was here for two summers, middle august to the late part of september. it was the integration of central high school in little
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rock, arkansas. it was a politically charged event that he dealt with while here in newport. he famously said that the white house is essentially wherever he is. there were always things that go on that he had to deal with, here as well as in his remote office. it is a beautiful area. this is historically part of a larger fort. it was easily defensible and still under navy protection. it was easier for the secret service and those to kind of secure the area. the newportlose to country club golf course. he was a big fan of golf. the peninsula that this building is built on is part of a greater builtalled fort adams, with modifications all the way through world war ii.
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during most of that time, the peninsula would have been blocked off as an army base. the officers originally lived inside the fort itself, but those rooms were notoriously damp and cold. in the in the 1870's they built the eisenhower house. >> at one time this was a family home, too many, many families. starting with general hunt, the first occupant of this house. then the various naval officers , the armyour after moved into fort adams. built 1875 this house was for the, doug. oadant.he comment
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that was they could live there with their families. this house is a prime example of the effort used for their structures. used asrs ago, this was our national logo, right after the civil war it was adopted as a nation united. it looks like a $. u.s.es not look like the it looks like a collaborative design. by the time this house was occupied around 1875 this was all left in place. these are original. the architectural details of this house, what we used to put into our federal structures is amazing. this new post, one can only
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guess how many pieces of wood are here, they are all handcarved. at the bottom, if you can pick that up, the u.s. appears in four sections of this. this room may have served as a sitting room or receiving room. 1960 president eisenhower came here to dedicate eisenhower park. going to ceremony, there was a platform stage with many dignitaries, black music, a lot of happiness, everybody was absolutely pleased that the president chose to honor us with a visit. i remember at the time they dedicated the monument, i was theght by my mother to see
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unveiling. my mother was a very small woman, frankly, a being a small child, i could not see anything coveringe brown canvas over the monument. a very nice lady picked me up to see the unveiling, the cover was ripped off and you could see the name eisenhower and the five stars of his general rank. fantastic, at that point, he came down to the started shaking hands with people. this woman picked me up a second and said shake cans with the general. he had such a pleasing, pleasant face. that inspired confidence. i am in newport, rhode
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island, home of the harborside. about ida len more wis. lewis was the most famous woman lighthouse keeper in the united states, more importantly she was the fit -- most than lighthouse keeper in the united states. barely five foot two inches tall, she weighed 130 pounds. revenue cuttera captain. he had declining health, he started to attend the white house. he also managed to convince the government they should build a house for their family there. she was 12 when that happened. they moved the whole family from downtown newport to lime rock, that is where she lived her entire life. she died and the lighthouse.
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in 185412 years old when she took over the duties of the lighthouse. , shortly after they moved in, been stricken with a stroke and could not do the work. ida took over the duties. it was common for women to take -- thee phone husband's husbands or fathers duties. that was not unusual. she was really built for this work. she loved the lighthouse, she loved living on a rock. she was meant for this. it is not as romantic as many people think. it is rugged, you have to provide your own heat, you have to get euro and food, all these resources you have to bring it. her siblings to school every day. her father would look away because he thought they were not
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going to make it. she always did. she had the most prowess rowing. was an incredible swimmer, people did not swim back then. 16 she had her first rescue. they were attending the lights and they heard screams for help, there were four young boys her having a little picnic. they were getting kind of crazy, while, someone climbed the mast and the boat capsized. she rode out there and saved all four of them. no one knew about this, they thanked her and went on their way. they were newport stock, there was nothing to document. that was her first rescue, she did many through her career. the one at what her on the map was when she rescue to soldiers from fort adams who had been having a good time and hired a
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14 euro point two wrote them -- row them back to fort adams. it was a very windy, stormy night, the boat capsized pretty quickly. it,and her mother noticed she jumped in her little paddleboat and save the two men. the 14 euros had drowned, the , they werearly gone twice her size nearly. her father told her you always pull from the stern, that is what she did. she was 130 pounds and she was unbelievably strong. she always kept a really calm head. that became her most famous rescue because it had to be documented. they were soldiers from fort adams. the next morning, they spent the night there, they were really almost dead themselves.
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the next morning, the sergeant ida rowingen he saw out to get them, he got they were doomed. it is only a woman, she is never going to make it. then i watched her and she got closer and closer, he thought she is going to do it. that was 1869, she became famous overnight. what is ironic is after this rescue of these two soldiers, new york press came and, harpers weekly, a variety of other magazines came in and they interviewed her. ,hey did these illustrations while they were heralding her as the bravest woman in america, they were also saying things is this really a feminine thing to do for a young moment? femininity,ned her
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at the end one of the writers surmised he hoped she would be married. she got a letter press, newport looklf -- started to at her. it was going to be ida lewis day. there was a parade, there were banners, there were postcards, they suppressed her with this boat. the townspeople chipped in admitted the spectacular wooden boat for her, they thought she deserved a better boat. there was a lot of pomp and circumstance, speeches from the governor, everybody. she thank them all, got in the and rode back to the
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lighthouse. she never used it because it was too heavy. it was too cumbersome, it was very impractical, it had velvet cushions, goldleaf here and there. an had to break this to get off the rocks. there was no way she could do it by herself. she never used it. she really appreciated what the town's people had done for her. ,he was so famous after that visitors started to come in droves. her father who was an invalid would sit by the fire on the stove and he would count how many people would come visit her. one summer he documented between 9000 and 10,000 people. she had some insurers to do, she would keep working while answer questions and talked about the rescues. that is what they wanted to hear about it was more than just visitors and towns people,
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famous people came up to visit her. was in newhony england on behalf of the suffragist movement, they made sure that they would stop and lewis.dda according to some newspaper accounts they were so enthusiastic in meeting a woman who really personified what this movement was about. ton they left, she got back work. she did not want to be part of this national movement. heroesmous civil war like general sherman came to visit her. probably the highlight of her visits was from president grant, who had been a general in the civil war. he had been in town for something, he said he was not the gnu or he got to shake the lewis. ida she got hundreds of proposals for marriage, she was engaged at
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age 27. she was already engaged to another captain at the time. anddid leave the lighthouse move in with them, which he was expected to do and become a full-time wife. that marriage lasted less than ,wo years, when her father died she came back to lime rock and take over the duties. that shel records show saved 18 people total. it was more likely she say between 35 and 45, so many went undocumented. she was doing her job and did not talk about it. stille got older, she continue to rescue people. andwas in her early 60's rescue to women that toppled over while they were trying to straighten out their skirt, she zipped out and pulled the men. she always said the light is my child, if it no longer needs me then she was ready.
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that is exactly what happened. the lighthouse bureau was starting to automate things, electricity was being assured him, she no longer had to care for the wick as she did and the past. they were really starting to change the lighthouse systems. with that came a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. she would get these messages or letters from washington dc scolded her for not filling out the proper paperwork for her inventory. she was not used to any of this and it worried her a lot. her job may be at stake. her out notewed knowing she was the most famous lighthouse keeper in the world. he should her out for not doing the job properly. she really took this to heart, she worried about it, and talked
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about it with her brother. not long after that she had actually had a massive stroke herself. some woodne to get and collapsed by the stove. her brother found her that morning on the floor unconscious , he roused her, she told him to get the doctor. he did not want to leave her, he did and when she came back to she came back she was unconscious. lived for three more days after that. she died peacefully and the lighthouse, it made national news that her health was failing, she had had a stroke. look like she was going to live. when she died, they put her in a casket and rode her to shore. , this a funeral unbelievable funeral, all of newport shut down, the flags were flown at half mast, the
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bells told, the ships that were going out would bring their bells. it was really something. she was ida lewis of newport, she was the most famous lighthouse keeper ever in the history of united states. she still is that way. we really need to return her to her rightful place in history, she is an inspiration to girls and young women today. >> we are at the breakers in newport when we are learning more about the vanderbilt family. it is the largest gilded mansion in newport. dresses we take a tour -- join us as we take a tour of the home. >> these rooms were so ornate
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because the families want to make an impression. i think when you walk into the breakers, the first thing you notice, the first room you walk into is the great hall which is what we are standing in right now. box if youby 50 will. 50 feet wide and 50 feet high. it is highly ornamented with symbol of the vanderbilt family can be seen everywhere, the acorn and the oakleaf. that meant strength and longevity, you will find the acorn and the oakleaf all through the house. lot of marble and all kinds of ornamentation. this house is supposed to look like an italian palace. they wanted to make a statement that indeed, they had succeeded. pinnacle andthe
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they were able to do what they , theywith their resources homes that were in the style of european mansions. it was built by richard morris hunt, the preemptive architect of the time. he was the first american to study in paris. he was the hottest architect of the period. to hire him meant you would have a great showpiece to put on display, he worked for a closely with the vanderbilt family in creating the great hall. common or cornelius vanderbilt was the patriarch of the family. he started out with a little boat, over the years he would
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grow his business into a thriving steamboat business. the family that went into the railroad business, his grandson built the breakers. cornelius and his wife settled here in the 1880's. down,first house burned they built this starting in 1892, it was finished in 1895. the gilded age started in the 1870's and 1880's, it ran through the 1920's and 1930's. it was a time when those entrepreneurs from that time were really starting to show their wares. they were doing phenomenally well financially, in this case currently vanderbilt and his family were famous for first being in the steamboat business and then the railroad business, they connected new york to chicago. they change this country dramatically. they created houses like this one.
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the very rich at the time chose newport for a variety of reasons. was thate main reasons it was perfect from a climate perspective. many people came from the south escaping the heat, escaping , disease, escaping the civil war. there was a variety of reasons. newport had been a tourist destination from the 1830's. tojust continued to snowball the destination for the rich, it continues today to be a place where people who have a little come. beings the weather is beautiful, the baby is beautiful, there are a lot of opportunities for people to enjoy and relax. why not newport? these houses were second houses or third houses. they were built this summer
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cottages. normal --e coming for no more than two months. they were all part of the same much ofet, they spent their time together during the day, maybe playing tennis, enjoying coaching, visiting with ,ne another, going to the beach then at night there were parties. there were dinners and festivities, all sorts. community, that group of people spent their time together. andlocal people came here there was a distinction between the workers and the people who owned the house. the breakers is a 70 room house, you could imagine it needed a love of people working here. the numbers that we think are 38 or 42 people
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who work here on a full-time basis during the summer months when the vanderbilt were in residence. then there were people who checked in certainly during the winter months. it is very interesting because newport, still to this day, has people troubled sectors. peoples whose families work in these houses are still around. then people whose families built these houses and lived in these houses are still around as well. we see a little bit more mingling today and we did back then. it is a very interesting dynamic. , as youn the music room can see it is absolutely gorgeous. the ceiling has the tribute that it pays to music without words melody and french -- in french. many musicians are memorialized on the ceiling.
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the thing you circulate note, this is gilded because there is a lot of gilding in the room. people entertained themselves from a musical perspective. held,where dances were there is that silver and platinum color that is extraordinary. the colors are soft, it is a lovely lovely room. the stories that i am struck by a about the is a groom are those of richard vanderbilt who married harry payne whitney. gertrude vanderbilt whitney was the woman who went on to become a tremendous collector of american artists, a great advocate for american are. she tried to give her unbelievable collection of
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and evenart to the met offered a great deal of money to have them build a wing to house her art collection. the metropolitan museum of art turned her down. thank goodness for that because the whitney museum today exists because of gertrude vanderbilt whitney who said, you don't want my collection, i will start a museum of my own. as you know, the whitney museum is one of the best collections of modern art anywhere in the world. it all started because of gertrude vanderbilt whitney who got married here in this room. she was one of the most fascinating women. not cut into all of the social amenities. she was of the independent sort, she knew early on she was prone to be interested in the arts. very carefully,
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she became a sculpture us in her many of her pieces can be seen in new york and other places. a sculptor inly her own right but also a collector of art. ye, just had a phenomenale and she was able to identify who was in merging and mentor them. she gave them a safe place. , if youted a studio will, for artists to practice their wares. she helped in some new ways. all of that led to her growing collection of art which resulted in the whitney museum. one of the things we should remember is this house was built in under two years. built this mansion cottage.
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many people ask how it could ever be built in two years, then how could it be decorated in a way that you see today and that time? the music room and the morning room were both made in france. carved, gilded in france, the room was then deconstructed, put on a ship, sent to the country and brought to newport, reconstructed here. that is one way the house was able to be finished in the two-year time it was finished in. to go in the morning room. this is a room that was built in europe and brought to the united states. gilded, lavish and as and as may never as you can imagine. you can see the walls, it looks
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like silver for years, we thought how come that silver it somernishes, is other kind of metal? we had some conservators come to it newport and we discovered was not silver it is platinum. this is a platinum room. this is called the morning room. it is exactly that. it is where the family and their guests, and their friends would the day'sdiscuss activities, maybe you would read the paper and have a cup of coffee. maybe you would write a note to a friend, maybe you would read a book, maybe you would chat about how the date would be spent. room enjoyed for its view from the sea. you enjoyed the morning light. it is aately because
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foggy day you cannot get the feel of the morning. the way this room is used. i think the thing that strikes me about this room is really the founding of the preservation society. of corneliusendent and alice vanderbilt had a others and the 1940's, a woman named catherine moran founded the preservation society. it was founded with the idea of saving a house on the waterfront. a house that was built in the 1740's called hunter has. it is a magnificent house. the worry was that it was going to be disassembled and put on display at the metropolitan museum of art. nobody in newport wanted that to happen. our architectural
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heritage. we did not want to lose our heritage to another city. women under the leadership of our founder gathered together, bought the house, restore the house, and then furnished it. at some point in time, catherine and started the idea of opening the first floor to the public. they would charge one dollar per to work -- per tour. the money raised with goat towards the saving of hunter house. her act was a tremendous act of generosity and philanthropy to open up this house to the public. if you can imagine, the house was built in the 1890's, we are opening it up in the 1940's. even and that first summer that
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the house was open, tens of thousands of people came to see it. everybody was curious to see a house as big as the breakers. me to thinkg to conceived, when they of this idea in the 1940's, did 2017 21e any idea by million people would walk to the doors. i doubt they have that vision. certainly all of us benefited because of their great act. then in the early 1970's, the preservation society have the opportunity to buy the house from the vanderbilt family. we bought it at market value and it has been in our loving care ever since then. an enormous house to take care of. we do the best we can. this painting is of cornelius vanderbilt. only portrait anywhere
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, the preservation society have the unbelievable fortune of acquiring this portrait, it was painted in 1890. opportunity, now we are hanging it proudly. don't know where it hung originally or if it did hang. there are many different opinions about that. this is the man who built the house. this is truly a magnificent room. this is the dining room of the breakers. it is 50 feet high, the , i thinkrs standout one of the interesting things about this house is it was built in the 1890's. it was at that time where people were still wondering if
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electricity was the thing. his handlers were our debt only by electricity but by gas. just in case this idea if electricity did not work. there is a wonderful letter that mr. vanderbilt wrote to his friends about having a meeting to discuss this idea of thomas edison. maybe we should invest in this concept of electricity. they were hedging their bet by having both gas and electricity. the dining room table can be extended to accommodate 32 people. all of the chairs from the original dining room are here. the table is not set for 32 right now. you can imagine it is just swelling up, and what a great party it would be. sculpturele piece of
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is websites -- life-size. doubt that you are in a real palace when you are in the dining room. not unlike many you have seen in europe, bringing back the spirit of european architecture. just as gilded as it could be. this was a room used as entertaining purposes. we are told that the families ate most of their meals in the roomfast room, the dining was used for the really fancy functions that were put on by the family. the things about the preservation society is it is the innermost amount of time we take to restore these buildings. the header plays 32,000 tiles on
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the roof and all of the chimneys were leading more than they should. that is an ongoing job for all of us here. we also spend a large amount of overtime conserving. one example of the conservation tapestry the 1600 foot that has just been sent -- this is a fake. this has just been sent to belgium where it is being conserved. it has been put on the walls of the breakers in 1890's. it has never come off of the wall. terrified when it would disintegrate and fall into dust read it rolled a beautifully and has been sent off for its conservation.
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it will take several months to get a conserved and we will have it back. we are very excited about that. important mission of the preservation society. taking care of the buildings and keeping them in the best shape we can and then taking care of the objects in the building. i think what is so incredible about this room is, it is supposed to look like a european palace. it is supposed to look like an open air sealing. in our case because of the weather, we have a painted we are inat signifies the open air. it snows here. they had to make accommodations. just the thingm that stands out is the ornate carving. things that really make the impression that they
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do. this is the room where they would have greeted people. you parties were being held would gather people together. you may have dances in the music room, you may have dances in this room as well. this is the center of the house. this is the place where everybody passes through. areas,d have had seating it would have opened up for parties. room youltifunctional can say. a lot of the furniture in the room is original. it came from the vanderbilt family. almost all of it is original. of thethe majority objects in the preservation , in the building. there are a few things on loan, then there are a few things look to us from the family. the majority of the objects in
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the breakers are original. that is what makes it special. when we have opportunities to get that painting of cornelius for -- vanderbilt which had disappeared and is now back again, we grab this opportunity. that is the way we can best tell the story of the house and what it looked like. is alsoed age debatable. say 1920, 1930, the heart of the gilded age was the income tax. it readily -- it radically change how americans could live. that's then prevented them from the maintenance of the houses. changed thed war i
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complexion of this country and newport. after world war i people were living different lifestyles. find the trying to number of staff people that were needed to manage a house. women were going into the workforce. there were a lot of different reasons the gilded age started to dwindle down. 19-teens.n the hostessesrt host and managed to live in the gilded age style until the early 1960's. was julia berman who owned the elms. thatontinued to manage house in the gilded age until her death in the early 1960's. what happens to these homes
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after the gilded age is a very sad story for newport. some of the houses were completely abandoned by the families. some of the houses mysteriously burned down. were torn down. a variety of things happened, over the years they have become condominiums, some of the houses that were converted are going into single-family houses. there has been a lot of changes. we wrote a book called lost newport. in that book it more than 40 homes, as large as the that were lost forever and ever. there is the change in society and the country at the time. is areservation society nonprofit organization whose mission is to take care of these houses.
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the first and oldest was built in the 1740's. the most recent was born in 1902. 150eally spanned more than years of architectural history. if you are interested in architecture and domestic architecture, this is the place to go. you can see at all here. --is in walking this this distance. we are supported by 38 members. last yearmerous tours there is a great interest in american architecture. we have grown over the years certainly think we have grown our collection of houses due to a variety of different circumstances. some have been given to us, some have been taught. here we are with 11 houses that are truly remarkable. they are -- were not moved or built like other historic sites. these are houses that were lived
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in, they were partied in. can,were worked in, you when you are in any of our houses feel a little bit of the spirits that pass through here. tour stafftes recently traveled to newport, rhode island to learn more about the city. org for moretour. information. you are watching c-span3. >> tonight on c-span q and a, harvard law school professor talked about his book the three wives of james madison. is allconstitution around you when it comes to washington dc. the whole three-part structure of government.
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the weather government to direct, the way people speak to each other. all of that is madison's monument. christopher ruddy said look around your if you seek is monument. in washington dc you will see his monument everywhere. .m.q&a tonight at 8:00 p eastern. nexen interview with david feels. he talks with us about the history of u.s. korea relations and the current political system on the korean peninsula in between the u.s. and north korea. this was recorded at the american historical association's annual meeting in washington dc. >> david fields is a historian.

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